Umps screw up the whole warn-the-benches thing in the Indians-Tigers game

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Yesterday in the Indians-Tigers game Asdrubal Cabrera hit a long foul ball that could have gone out. He watched it as it flew. Which, given that it was either a foul ball or a home run shouldn’t have been too big a deal. I mean, it’s not like it was a moon shot to straightaway center he was admiring. Dude just wasn’t sure where the ball was going.

Rick Porcello, however, took exception and threw one behind Cabrera’s back on the very next pitch. That was stupid and immature. Also stupid: the umps decided to warn the benches right after the pitch.

I thought that if a pitcher throws a clear retaliation pitch — which this was — you eject the pitcher immediately. That’s punishment, see.  The only effect the warning had was to give Porcello a freebie purpose pitch while simultaneously preventing the Indians from retaliating. Or, if the umps misconstrued a later inside pitch from them as a purpose pitch, made it harder for them to pitch inside legitimately.

Manny Acta was mad about it, and rightfully so.  If a guy throws at someone on purpose, they should be ejected.  Why is that so hard?

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.